Marseille have bolstered their slim hopes of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages after a 4-1 win over 10-man Sporting Lisbon.
The hosts were largely helped by two goalkeeping howlers from Sporting’s Antonio Adan, who was then sent off in the 23rd minute for handballing outside his own box.
Sporting got caught in traffic on the way to Stade Velodrome and the match kicked off 20 minutes later than its original schedule time, but they got off to a dream start when Francisco Trincao curled a low left-footed strike into the bottom corner in the opening 50 seconds.
After that, the fiery contest descended into a nightmare for the Portuguese club with Adan mostly to blame.
Marseille’s equalising goal in the 13th minute came after Alexis Sanchez blocked Adan’s lazy clearance and the ball went straight into the net.
Marseille’s second three minutes later was nodded in by Amine Harit after the hosts regained possession because of a poor clearance from Adan.
Six minutes later and Adan was then sent off after he handled the ball outside his box when he looked to stop a one-on-one situation. Two minutes later, substitute goalkeeper Franco Israel – on his club debut – flapped at a corner which saw centre back Leonardo Balerdi nod in a corner to put Marseille in full control heading into the break.
Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim made four substitutions at half time and his side put in an improved second half display, but ultimately the damage had already been done by Adan in the first half.
Former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba got his second goal in a Marseille shirt five minutes from time with a precise close range finish, moments before Sanchez rounded Israel and scuffed his shot into the side netting.
TALKING POINT – A DISASTROUS NIGHT FOR ADAN
Sporting’s No. 1 goalkeeper had what must have been the worst evening of his professional career in Marseille.
The 35-year-old was evidently responsible for Marseille’s first two goals and left his side with a humongous task to get back into the match after clumsily handballing outside his box. All in the space of 22 minutes.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – NUNO TAVARES
The Arsenal loanee was a constant threat down the left flank and was allowed to play effectively as a winger when Sporting went down to ten men.
It was the 22-year-old’s surging run into the Sporting box which saw Adan hesitate and handle outside the penalty area.
Marseille: Lopez (6), Mbemba (6), Balerdi (7), Bailly (6), Clauss (7), Tavares (8), Veretout (6), Guendouzi (7), Under (7), Harit (7), Sanchez (6)
Subs: Kabore (6), Rongier (6), Gueye (6), Gigot (N/A), Gerson (N/A)
Sporting Lisbon: Adan (1), Inacio (5), St. Juste (4), Reis (5), Esgaio (5), Morita (5), Ugarte (5), Santos (4), Goncalves (5), Trincao (6), Edwards (6)
Subs: Israel (4),Alexandropoulos (5), Paulinho (5), Marsa (5), Nazinho (5)
0’ – DELAYED KICK-OFF – The match will start 15 minutes later than planned because of the late arrival of Sporting’s bus due to traffic. So we should be underway at 6pm UK time.
1’ – 50 SECOND GOAL! – Just 50 seconds into the match and Trincao has fired Sporting in front! The winger cuts in onto his left foot and curls his strike into the bottom corner! What a start from Sporting!
13’ – GOAL! IT’S A GOALKEEPING HOWLER FROM ADAN! Marseille equalise and it’s a shocker from Adan! He tries to clear the ball but he smashes it straight at the Chile international who closed him down. The deflection goes into the net and all of a sudden Marseille are back in this!
16’ – GOAL! HARIT HEADS MARSEILLE IN FRONT! A terrible clearance from Adan lands at the feet of Guendouzi. The ball is worked to Clauss who whips in an early cross for Harit, who nods in Marseille’s second beyond the goalkeeper. Marseille lead!
22’ – RED CARD! ADAN HAS BEEN SENT OFF! The goalkeeper has had one of the worst nights of his career. After two goalkeeping howlers which has led to goals, he storms out of his box and handles the ball outside his area. He is shown a straight red card.
27’ – GOAL! MARSEILLE GET THEIR THIRD! Another goalkeeping mistake this time from Israel… another goal for Marseille! Balerdi rises highest to meet the corner with Israel flapping at it and thumps his header into the net. Marseille have surely wrapped this game up against their shellshocked 10-man opponents.
84’- GOAL! MARSEILLE GET THEIR FOURTH! A lovely goal from Mbemba! Sanchez’s cross is parried out to Mbemba. After some fine clos control, he precisely pokes his shot into the bottom corner for his second Marseille goal